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JOHNSON COUNTY DOMESTIC BATTERY LAWYER -COMMON QUESTIONS

Domestic Battery is commonly charged in Johnson County, Kansas.  In fact, it is one of the most common crimes than an average person is likely to be charged with in their life.  Aside from DUI, there are more domestic violence cases than any other type of criminal cases.  The simple fact of the matter is, if you find yourself charged with a domestic battery, you're not alone.  That being said you probably have several questions about what you're facing and how to handle the situation.  Follow these simple rules to set yourself up for success in your case.

  1. Calm down.  You're in a tough situation but being emotional will only lead to poor decision making.

  2. Keep your mouth shut.  Don't talk to anyone about the situation other than a lawyer.  Telling other people about the problem can't be undone.  You don't want to create witnesses but you also don't want to start up the rumor mill.  There may be a time to talk about it down the road, now isn't that time.

  3. Get in contact with a lawyer. Now is the time to lawyer up, we are talking about a serious problem that can have life-long consequences.  You need to treat an arrest in the same way you would if you found out you had a health problem.  If you found out you had cancer you wouldn't fire the cheapest and most convienient doctor you found, you would do some research and hire a doctor that specializes in cancer treatment.  Same with picking a lawyer, do your research and be prepared to pay for an expert.

  4. Listen to the lawyer you hired.  I your lawyer gives you advice, listen to it.  It makes no sense to hire an expert and then not follow their advice.  If you trust your lawyer and do what he or she says you will get a better outcome.

Below is a list of some common questions that people generally have when facing a domestic battery charge, feel free to read up on the charge or call to speak to an experienced lawyer.

What is domestic battery?

According to Kansas Law, domestic battery is knowingly committing an unpriviledged touching in a rude angry or insulting manner to one’s spouse or former spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend or any person in which you are having or had an intimate relationship with. In Kansas, a domestic battery case can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the assessment of the case by the prosecutor. The prosecutor will usually charge it as a misdemeanor unless there are some aggravating factors present in the case.

  1. The abused/victim has suffered grave injuries that are potentially life threatening.

  2. A dangerous weapon such as a knife or a gun was used during the fight or was used in threatening violence to the abused/victim.

  3. There are past criminal records that indicate a violent past and/or there have been previous domestic violence conviction in the defendant's past.

Remember, the State prosecutor has wide discretion if charges will be filed against a defendant, they also have discretion as to what charges will be filed.  The alleged victim is not the person, "pressing charges" against a defendant, only the State prosecutor has the power to charge someone with a crime.

What are the possible punishments if found guilty of a domestic battery charge?

If the charge was a misdemeanor, the possible punishments are:

  • Imprisonment up to 6 months on a first offense (Class B misdemeanor)

  • Imprisonment up to 12 months on a second offense (Class A misdemeanor)

  • Probation and mandatory domestic violence rehab program completion.

  • Testing for Drugs and Alcohol

  • Fines, fees and court costs.

If the charge is a felony, the possible punishments are:

  • Level 4 = 36-172 Months Imprisonment

  • Level 5 = 31-136 Months Imprisonment

  • Level 7 = 11-34 Months Imprisonment 

  • Level 8 = 7-23 Months Imprisonment

The judge has the discretion in deciding the punishment and jail time for any domestic violence cases. The judge will base the punishment on three factors, 1) the severity of the case 2) the criminal history of the defendant 3) any mitigating or aggrivating facts presented to the judge.

Domestic Battery is a serious offense that carries serious jail time but more importantly, it can tarnish a person’s credibility and reputation. It can also affect employment prospects in the future as well as housing opportunities. So it is important for any defendant charged with a domestic violence charge to do everything possible to avoid a guilty verdict. The guidance and help of an expert lawyer on domestic violence cases can be the very thing that saves you from being found guilty of the offense.

How common is it for an ordinary person to get charged with Domestic Battery?

It scares most people when they actually find out how easy it is to get into trouble. I would say eighty to ninety percent of people who come in for a consult with an attorney for such a matter are regular everyday people. They could be a lawyer, teacher, doctor, or someone from any walk of life. It is very common for people to find themselves charged with a domestic violence offense.

What Are The Most Common Scenarios you see Where Domestic Battery Charges End Up Being Filed? 

Johnson County has a very strict policy on domestic battery. An average domestic battery is a difficult thing to quantify, but in general it starts with mom and dad get into an argument and somebody is usually intoxicated, and things get out of hand. It can be a fight, it can be anything. I have seen people get a battery charge over a board game. People just get mad over something stupid and then next thing you know the cops get called.

The overwhelming majority of the time, people do not intend for their spouse or their significant other to get in trouble. They call the cops because they think that is the right thing to do at the time. They are excited or they may want to put some fear into the person that has touched them. Unfortunately, most jurisdictions policy is; If there is any evidence of domestic battery, someone is going to jail. Once you are in the system, it goes from there.

Are Domestic Battery Charges Filed In Tandem With Divorce Cases?

The two go hand-in-hand sometimes but is not as common as you might think. In a relatively low percent of the divorces there is going to be some sort of domestic violence involved. However, when domestic battery occurs it can be the catalyst for ending a relationship. A lot of the time, a criminal offense ends up being the straw that broke the camel’s back; “he laid his hands on me” or “she laid her hands on me.” They talk to their families, who then encourage them to get out of an unhealthy relationship.

Can a Battery Charge Be Used Against Someone Falsely Over Things Like Child Custody?

It does happen.  Some people will try to use it as leverage. For example, I once had a case where it was clear that the lady was trying to manipulate the system to get her husband out of the house during the divorce proceedings. She wanted him out of the house. Since there is a local rule in Johnson County that says you cannot kick the person out of the marital residence during a divorce, the only exception to that is if there is if there is an allegation of domestic abuse.

In that case, both people already knew, “The marriage is over practically”. The husband and wife are spending the night in different rooms, different parts of the house. They do not talk to each other anymore, but they are still living together while a divorce is in the process. Then one of the parties decides, “I want to do whatever I can to get this person out of their house.” They go to their divorce lawyer and the divorce lawyer says, “Well, you can’t. The only way that’s ever going to happen is if there is a domestic abuse allegation”. Next thing you know, very convenient, there is an allegation of domestic abuse.

In these types of case, a judge will often grant one person sole occupancy of the marital residence during the divorce. That can get manipulated and it is also heavy leverage as it makes one person fight on two fronts. Instead of having to fight not only the divorce case, they are fighting the state’s case trying to put them in jail, while at the same time they are fighting their divorce case. It is a kind of divide and conquer tactic that a lot of people will try to use.